Psydrax odorata – Alahe’e
Also known as Ohe’e, it is indigenous to all the main Hawaiian Islands. Early Hawaiians valued it for its hard wood, which was made into spears, often used to capture octopus (Alahe’e means slippery like an octopus or squid.). The wood was also used to make certain tools like a pry-bar (‘o’o) or an “adz” for cutting softer woods like Hau or Kukui. Its fragrant flowers and glossy foliage likely led to its usage in lei making.
The Alahe’e plant grows into a medium-large shrub to small tree and is very tolerant of a wide range of moisture and soil types, growing from near sea level to almost 4,000 feet mauka, making it a useful landscape plant for sunny sites.
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